Langston Hughes "Hunger" Has Panthers Ready For 2022 Season
The countdown continues as the start of the 2022 Georgia High School Association football season is just weeks away and with that, there is a “hunger” within the Langston Hughes Panthers that has them ready to kick things off. The Panthers are coming off their second consecutive 10 plus win season, one that saw them advance to the GHSA 6A championship game in which they battled eventual champion, Buford to the final seconds, nearly knocking off the defending champs.
Despite the outcome, Langston Hughes head coach, Daniel Williams says that after reaching last year’s championship game, some may believe that the Panthers could be complacent with that accomplishment, however, Williams assures that his players want to run things back and finish the job this time around. “These kids are even hungrier than they were last year. The amount of texts and calls I get from them about being ready to go attack the next day is crazy,” Williams said of his players.
But the mindset of the Panthers’ players is one Williams and his staff took note of when the guys returned for summer workouts and had “turned into leaders”. Williams continued that because of the leadership from last season’s senior class, the junior class did not have to carry much of that weight on their shoulders, but to his surprise, “they’ve grown up over June and July and that’s the scary part. When they figure it out, it’s going to be even better for this program”.
A program that knows because of their success that past two seasons, opposing teams will be looking to take them down and Williams says that will not change him and his staffs coaching strategies heading into the season. “We’re going to continue to attack everyday 1-0. That’s they’re mentality, they talk about it amongst themselves. Not next day, next play,” Williams added. He would go on to say that while teams may be looking at them as having a target on their back, they too look at their opponents in the same manor.
“The same target on our back, we’re putting it on our opponent, so they’re (Panthers) still aiming at the target. That’s our mentality, we’re attacking them,” Williams said of his players’ mindset. A mindset that will go to work when the Panthers open the season on August 20 when they take on Spartanburg (SC) at Milton High School in the Freedom Bowl. And when the Panthers hit the field, they will be doing so with three players who are ranked on the ESPN 300 Class of 2023, the most from one school out of Georgia and Williams credits the hard work of his players, parents and Langston Hughes community for the national recognition.
“That speaks volume for the program,” Williams said, adding that while the recognition is a huge accomplishment, his players stay focused on showing up to practice and putting in work to better themselves. “Iron sharpens iron and they know that and that’s the way they’ve been approaching it”. Williams said of the Panthers’ players.